Abstract The rise of social neuroscience has brought the second-person perspective back into the focus of philosophy. Although this is not a new topic, it is certainly less well understood than the first-person and third-person perspectives, and it is even unclear whether it can be reduced to one of these perspectives. The present paper argues that no such reduction is possible because the second-person perspective provides a unique kind of access to certain facts, namely other persons' mental states, particularly, but (...) not only, in social contexts. The paper starts with the idea that perspectives are ways of epistemic access that determine an epistemic subject's recognition of a certain object. While the first-person perspective is subjective because it is based on, and directed at, the epistemic subject's experiences, the third-person perspective, which is based on objective evidence and gives access to all kinds of entities, is objective. The second-person perspective, by contrast, is intersubjective because it is a relation between an epistemic subject and another sentient being's mental states. It involves the epistemic subject's replication of those states, a basic self/other distinction and a basic awareness of the relevant situational differences between the epistemic subject and the other being. This is why the second-person perspective is a perspective on a perspective, which involves a basic awareness of perspectivalness, even if second-person perspective taking may be subpersonal to a large extent. (shrink)
According to qualia-epiphenomenalism, phenomenal properties are causally inefficacious, they are metaphysically distinct from, and nomologically connected with certain physical properties. The present paper argues that the claim of causal inefficacy undermines any effort to establish the alleged nomological connection. Epiphenomenalists concede that variations of phenomenal properties in the absence of any variation of physical/functional properties are logically possible, however they deny that these variations are nomologically possible. But if such variations have neither causal nor functional consequences, there is no way (...) to detect themanot only in scientific experiments, but also from the first-person perspective. Since neither third- nor first- person evidence can rule out the actual occurrence of such dissociations, the alleged nomological connection between phenomenal and physical properties cannot be established, in principle. As a consequence, the distinction between logical and nomological possibility breaks down and it cannot be ruled out that such dissociations occur in an unlimited number of cases. (shrink)
It is commonly believed that there is a fundamental incompatibility between multiple realization and type identity in the philosophy of mind. This claim can be challenged, however, since a single neural type may be realized by different microphysical types. In this case, the identity statement would connect the psychological and the neural type, while the neural type, in turn, could be multiply realized by different microphysical types. Such a multiple realization of higher level types occurs quite frequently even within physics (...) and it should be acceptable for physicalism in general. (shrink)
Palmer's principled distinction between first-person experience and scientific access is called into question. First, complete color transformations of experience and memory may be undetectable even from the first-person perspective. Second, transformations of (say) pain experiences seem to be intrinsically connected to certain effects, thus giving science access to these experiences, in principle. Evidence from pain research and emotional psychology indicates that further progress can be made.